Subject Area

History, Humanities, Philosophy


This dissertation will be a detailed study of the life, times, and writings of a mid-nineteenth century Irish-American writer, Fitz-James O’Brien. This will be the first full length study of O’Brien’s thought and writings. O’Brien was known, during his day, for two different types of writing: fiction of the supernatural and his writings on social justice, written in the emerging style of literary realism. It is his writings on social justice which this dissertation will explore. O’Brien’s writings on social justice covered three main topics: children, women, and animals. I look at how the historical context, O’Brien’s life, and his writings intersected with each other. The goal of the dissertation is to make an argument that O’Brien’s writings, largely forgotten today, constitute a place in the history of American literature.

Degree Date

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Type


Degree Name



Graduate Liberal Studies


Bruce Levy

Second Advisor

Leroy Howe

Third Advisor

Ed Countryman

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License